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What to Do if You Get Pulled Over in New York


What to Do if You Get Pulled Over in New York

Getting pulled over is stressful, and it’s very easy to make a wrong move that could result in either receiving a ticket that you didn’t have to receive, or getting arrested. It is vital to know exactly what to do when an officer pulls you over on the road.

By following these simple steps you’ll be able to move your encounter with police officers to its most successful potential conclusion.

#1) Take a deep breath!

The main thing you want to avoid is that sense of panic that can happen when you first see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Dealing with a police officer rightly induces anxiety, but you’re going to need to keep your wits about you.

#2) Show the police officer you intend to be cooperative.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to give up any basic rights. You are, however, going to put on your signal or hazard lights to show the officer you’ve seen them.

Don’t pull over until you’ve found a safe place to do so, but do pull over at the first available safe spot. You do not want to give the officer the impression at any point that you are attempting to flee the scene. If the officer thinks you are fleeing the scene you can be charged with a crime.

#3) Help the officer feel comfortable and safe.

You’re going to want to bring your vehicle to a complete stop and turn off the engine. Roll down the window. If it’s night time, turn on your interior lights. Keep your seatbelt on.

If you can, have your license and registration ready right away. If you can’t, just put your hands on the steering wheel and wait. That is, if you can reach right for these documents without fumbling or wasting a lot of time, do so. If you can’t, wait until the officer asks for them, then tell the officer where they are so you can gather them without alarming him.

#4) Avoid volunteering information.

Let the officer do most of the talking. Your job is to remain polite while saying as little as possible.

Keep in mind that many routine questions are just attempts to get you to incriminate yourself. For example, the question “Do you know why I pulled you over?” is a question that often trips people up. Anything you say can be used against you. The only helpful answer is to say, “No officer, can you please tell me why you pulled me over?”

Officers may also make statements in an attempt to trip you up. “I caught you doing 60 in a 45 zone.” Anything you say here other than, “I see,” or “okay,” can really work against you. This is not the time to defend yourself. “I was going with the flow of traffic,” for example, is basically admitting to speeding!

If an officer decides to write you a ticket there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.

If the officer asks to search your vehicle, make it clear that you will not consent to a search without a warrant. If the officer wants to search your vehicle they’re hoping to arrest you, and it doesn’t help you to give them an opportunity to plant evidence. Do not assume that having “nothing to hide” will help you in any way.

#5) Don’t take advice from police officers.

If the officer writes you a ticket don’t listen to anything he says about it. His job is to convince you to plead guilty and pay the ticket. He has the legal right to lie to you in order to make this happen. There is a proposed bill on the books that would ban this tactic, but as of this writing it remains legal.

Just quietly accept the ticket and ask if you are free to leave. When the officer says yes, you can go about your day.

Contact your New York traffic lawyer right away!

Often we can get these tickets dismissed or reduced, but it helps if you haven’t complicated your case. 

Contact Scott Russell Law to get started today.

See also:

Advice for Out-of-State Drivers Who Receive Traffic Tickets in New York

What Goes Wrong When People Try to Fight Traffic Tickets on Their Own

Is it Better to Plead Not Guilty to an Orange County, NY Speeding Ticket


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